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Discussion Starter #1
We've got an opportunity to get the free deserted bees. The problem is that the hive is too old and falling apart, there is at least an inch of the propolis over the top frames (the frames are plastic), everything is glued together. The hive got knocked down recently, did not fall completely apart (glued together), we put it back up vertically, not too sure if it was a good idea now...but the bees are still there.
What is the best way to get those bees ? I am not too keen on bringing this old hive in all entirety to my bee yard, even if it is moveable. Should I try to pull it apart and move the frames into the new hive bodies placed in the old location. But I don't want the old frames..Will I even be able to get those frames out ? What are my other options - to shake the bees - I still have to get the frames out ?
Have anyone tried to disassemble such a thing ? :scratch:
 

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If it is that bad treat it as a cut out. Salvage what you can into new boxes. Place new frames in boxes on top of the old comb. The bees will move up and you can cull out the old comb from the bottom.
 

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I would put one or two deeps with drawn frames above the existing hive. Include bracing if necessary. After a month or two, all of the bees will have moved up into the new boxes. You can then move them intact to a new location. Don't forget the can of gasoline and a box of matches for disposal of the old hive.
 

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Put 3 new frames in the middle and then the brood frames in to one side of the new frames. Take out all the honey frames except one, place it on the out side. Replace all honey frames with a new one. They should move the brood over to the middle. In the fall or winter they should back fill the old frames with honey, move them to the out side and then in the spring replace them.
 

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Option 1:
Could seal up all of the entrances but one. Then do a trap out. Will take a longer but you might end up with more bees this way.

Start out with a frame of brood (with eggs), honey & pollen (with house bees on frames) and at least 1 or 2 empty frames of comb. After a week or so you should have a lot of bees and a queen cell or two.

Repeat process.

At this point the bees should be in much lower numbers in the old hive. You would want to save the queen for her genetics. Something you didn't get with the 1 or 2 trapouts as the eggs were from your queen(s).

I would then just bust open the box has carefully as possible to ensure that the queen is not hurt and retrieve her, the hive bees and all comb.

Option2:
Seal up all but 1 or 2 entrances. Vacuum up all bees attempting to enter or leave the entrance(s). After 3 or 4 hours you will have most of the foragers. Put them in a hive with some comb with honey. You could also vacuum the bees a second time that same day when any foragers are out and all are coming back in for the night.

At this point the bees should be in much lower numbers in the old hive. You would want to save the queen for her genetics.

I would then just bust open the box has carefully as possible to ensure that the queen is not hurt and retrieve her, the hive bees and all comb. There should be a lot of brood, honey and pollen in the old hive. You might be able to save some of the frames into the hive with the vacuumed bees. If the plastic frames are damaged, just put them in the hive any way they will hang. Might have to use more than 1 brood box to do this. You might find some wooden frames in the hive. Those can be cut out and tied into empty frames. Either way, I would then put a brood box with comb and/or foundation above all of this and let them move up into the "new" box and frames.

JMHO
 

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Fuzzy has the best idea. Let the bees work for you using their behavior to your advantage. When the bees move up into the new boxes it will be a lot easier to handle and move them, queen and all. There will be less trauma to the bees with this option.
 

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I would work to get the hive apart, and put all the brood frames in a box, except one, with a few frames of stores in it. Do not put your queen in this box. Put a frame of brood in another box, with the queen and new frames of foundation. Put an excluder between the 2 boxes. As the brood hatches, they will move up with the queen. After all the brood has hatched, pull the bottom box. After the bees have drawn out the foundation in the box with the queen, put your second brood box on top of it.

You might find out, when you disassemble the hive, that the foundation is in better shape than you thought. I would get rid of the plastic frames though, as they have a hundred places for beetles to hide in.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for your great advices ! I'll keep you posted how everything will work out..as always I forgot to take pictures, you should have seen what was crawling under the top cover. I've never seen critters that size with so many legs, yikes :eek:
 

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Do you have pics? How many boxes this old thing consist of?

If its two boxes you could easily treat it as a walk away split and put the crappy boxes on top of new boxes. Once either queen is in the bottom box, add a queen excluder. 21 days later add another box, put a fume board on bad box, then take the crappy box away and let them rob it out.

Or just tear into the thing and hope for the best. Maybe not as bad as you think.
 

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If it is that bad treat it as a cut out. Salvage what you can into new boxes. Place new frames in boxes on top of the old comb. The bees will move up and you can cull out the old comb from the bottom.
What he said!
Plus - you're in NY? I have fresh snow on the ground tonight and my bees are all living in their upper supers yet.
Can I assume the donor of this hive wants it gone? asap? I'll bet any hive in NY could be reduced to a single super. Tear that top super apart and put the frames in a new box, good bb, good cover, have a second super available but I think it would be rare to find brood in two supers in March in NY. Set the equipment is the same place all bound up to travel. Open the other supers up so the girls won't stay in them.Just before dark screen them in and pop it in the trunk/hatch back/mini van whateveh.
This Saturday looks good... way up into the 50s wooohooo :lpf:
 

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I have done this....IF you have the ability to pick the hive up, place an empty brood chamber with some filled out frames underneath(the frames are optional). I then used a fume board and some Bee Gone stuff and placed on the brood chamber. This pushed the bees into the lower box. Once they were out, I took the old chamber off. I then placed a new empty chamber above this. You can then take this old chamber off to the side and begin tearing it apart to get to the frames of brood. Obviously, you are not worried about the hive body, as you said it was in bad shape. As you break this apart, you can then take any usable old frames and put into the new, empty brood chamber. Before long, you have all the old frames back in a box with the original bees. I leave them in this spot for a day to get the Bee Gone smell out.
Now I have the original bees and original frames in a new body!
 

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We just moved a two deep hive with bees. I didn't open it until we had it home for a week. There was so much propolis and bur comb I had to scrape the frames in the deep. When I tried to remove the frames (perco) I ended up with several coming out as one unit they were so well stuck together. I scrapped and hacked it off with my hive tool. The ladies were not amused. BUT what I discovered were very pretty frames, frames of sealed brood, capped honey and a fat lovely queen. I saw no sign of beetles or varroa! I put it all back together and will, as time permits change out the frames of very old dark drawn wax with new clean frames. For now I'm fine with them settling down with their old, loose frames.
I'd try to quickly shift all the old frames to a new clean hive on a warm evening en masse if need be. Take apart the old box Leave them for a day. The next night come ready to seal them up and move. You can clean up the frames another day and check out the queen. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
We actually ended up tearing it all apart, and it was not too bad, just as few people predicted. After about 1 1/2 month or even more we came back and decided that we shouldn't wait for them to move up - they were sitting on the bottom, all covered with mountains of propolis. They used the tops as honey supers. We moved about half of the frames - with brood and eggs into our boxes. I think at least one deep and one medium. The queen moved with us as well, Thank God, we did not loose her. Although I was not too sure - it was very messy. It took us two trips - one during the day, another in the evening to pick up whoever returned into new home later on. I still have to get rid of those old frames. The bees were very defensive for some time after that stress, I think they are getting better now. Unfortunately, we did not take any pictures, not a one bit, we were determined to do only one task.
Just re-read some of the posts again and realized that we should've placed the new boxes on the bottom and the old ones on the top, then, I bet, they would've moved down, :doh: , well, it's all done now.
Also, I tried to convince my husband that we should've left the old boxes stacked as nice as possible in the old location, in case if another swarm wants to move in, but he didn't want to disturb any more the nice guy, who waited for us patiently to take the bees. So, if there are more bees in the trees they will have to find a new place for their swarms...:scratch:
 
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